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Review of the 42nd Annual EUMA Conference by Julia Schmidt

42nd EUMA Annual Conference for Support Management Professionals in Copenhagen on 21 October 2016

Self- development - “Working in the Eye of the Storm”

I had a fantastic time attending my first EUMA Annual Conference. The event was a huge success and had over 200 delegates from different countries. We had a large convention space area with many stands giving the possibility to mingle and network. I enjoyed every minute and had a great time with like-minded peers.

We had amazing speakers who focused on topics related to self-development. Mette Højen, an expert in communication and persuasion, spoke about the “Power of Emotions”. Jane Møller Kretz, a designer and speaker, introduced the audience to the "Designers Tools" which can help us improve work life quality. Medical Doctor Peter Lund Madsen, who is specialized in Psychiatry, reminded us about the importance of the human brain. The comedian Deborah Frances-White led the event theatrically and enthusiastically and had the last speech "How to be charismatic in the Eye of the Storm".

In this article, I want to share some of the best points of the conference. They are not revolutionary and rather reminders that can help us improve our performance in our day-to-day life.

Voice, body and words

Mette Højen started her presentation by stating that we can influence the mood of our colleagues. Then she emphasized the following:

* Everything we do has an impact.

* Every word we say has an impact.

* What we give to others, we give to ourselves.

* Let’s press the right mood bottoms!


Mette emphasized that to create powerful communication we need to value words, voice and body language. Delivering a message is not enough. We have to be aware of what we want the audience to do or think about what we say. The way we use our voice, body and words is crucial.

Ask yourself:

* How do we want people to respond to what we say?

* What is the objective of your presentation?

* What do you want people to get of what you are saying?

* What is your message?

* How do you want the audience to feel about your message?


When we are playing music in an orchestra, we all need to be present and nowhere else. We have to be fully there. The same happens in organizations. People have to play the music together as an ensemble.

Mette encouraged us to listen more and allow people to talk. When we do so, we make people feel that we are present and they give us back credibility.

In my to-change list: Practice better listening


The Designers Tools

The designer Jane Møller Krets started her presentation reminding us about the importance of having self-confidence:

* Self-confidence comes from happiness and courage.

* Self-confidence brings motivation to our day-to-day life.


We loved her tips on how to create motivation:

* Keep on learning more

* Know the “why” of what you are doing

* Go to seminars

* Merge private life and personal interests

* Have a diary where you write your accomplishments

* Have a wall where people in your office can write the good things they have done

* Create cake and coffee moments at work and motivate your peers to tell about the biggest successes of the week


She presented five tools that can help us improve work-life quality:

Values - Your values will inspire you to attain your objectives. They will empower your journey.

Identity - Your identity is about your relationships, culture, values, storytelling, and contexts.

Colouring - Colours affect your mood and attention you get from your audience. Colours can make you radiate positive energy and consequently easily achieve your goals.

Space - Leave space to creativity. You can make your environment motivate creativeness by decorating your office with impactful colours, arts or ornamental objects. Here are some tips:

· Put the mess in small boxes.

· Have something pretty to look at when you are at work.

· Give space to your creativity

· Have coloured notebooks

Prioritize - Prioritizing correctly allows you to see your goals with clarity. It allows you to keep attention to details and have the necessary time to plan and attain success.

Let’s design our work-life!

In my to-change list: Bring more colours to my office and use clothes that are more colourful. I do know that colours affect our mood.


The brain

The amazing and energetic brain specialist Peter Lund Madsen, reminded us that we can change our behaviours and learn from our experiences. He showed us the value of the brain and how it functions.

Before, the brain was more relaxed. It was the body, which was put to work. Today, in the era of technology, it is our brain, which is put to work. When the brain is tired, we tend to become aggressive, forget things, and listen less.

Our brain was constructed to be worried. Therefore, it is very important to send positive messages to our brain.

Here are some key solutions to keep our brain out of fear and stress:

* Practice cooperation.

* Be motivated by the idea that there is a better future.

* Motivate people around us.

* Be social and build relationships.

* Imagine exciting future possibilities and be forwarding-looking


The brain is, at the physical level, an organ. It behaves like a muscle in the sense that it can be trained to improve different cognitive functions. The more you give positive stimulus to the brain the better it will become. The more we give positive signals to the brain, the more you program your brain to avoid focusing on the negative emotions of fear, anger, and stress.

Dr. Peter Lund Madsen gave us some advice on how to take care of our brain:

* Force your brain to relax and be free of disturbances.

* A good night’s sleep relaxes the brain and consolidates memory.

* Spend time in social situations. Go out and have fun with friends.

* Move your body.

In my to-change list: Go to bed earlier and let my brain relax properly.

Public Speaking

The comedian Deborah Frances-White gave us many tips and examples on how to embrace public speaking in a natural and authentic way. She was the lion in the room and made all gazelles disappear. Here are some of her tips to help us be commanding and dynamic when presenting:

* Walk towards the audience, and you become powerful.

* Do not act like a gazelle, but rather like a lion.

* When you are presenting, stand in the middle of the stage.

* Have as a goal to make people think differently.

In my to-change list: List and prioritize the top three goals that I want to accomplish with my audience


We had a wonderful time in Copenhagen and I hope all participants have arrived home with a list of strategic decisions that will transform bad behaviours into great performances.

Let’s keep on learning and make self-development a routine. For those who want to join the next EUMA international event, I recommend the EUMA Training Day in Antwerp, Belgium on April 2017.

EUMA - European Management Assistants Association is embracing change and conquering the world. Consequently, we are becoming IMA - International Management Assistants.

Our future is blue!


About Julia: Julia Schmidt is Executive Assistant and National Chairman at EUMA Norway. Julia is an enthusiastic EUMA-member. She wants to bring EUMA – European Management Assistants Association to YOU and create sharing & learning platforms.